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Posts Tagged ‘CAD’

Looking At The Remainder: 2016 MCADCafe Editorial Calendar of Topics

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

It’s already mid February, and with two months well on their way to being history this year, it’s not too late to tell our readers about what we’ll be covering for the remainder of 2016. The MCADCafe editorial calendar below reflects what we perceive as some of the most important topics today, as well as feedback from our readers and other supporters with what they feel is important and relevant.

The main theme for each month will be covered in an extended article or series of articles so that the topic can be covered more comprehensively.

We’ll also be covering some of the major MCAD events throughout the year, reporting what we see and hear from vendors, partners, and attendees. All of the events we attend will include daily written coverage and Tweets throughout event days, as well as video and audio interviews.

If there is anything we missed or if you have any thoughts of topics or events you would like to see covered in 2016, feel free to contact me directly at or 719.221.1867. I’m always open to suggestions and new ideas!

We look forward to an exciting 2016 and providing you with the MCAD content you want most for improving your design, engineering, and manufacturing processes and top and bottom lines.

Keep your source for all things MCAD because 2016 promises to be a great year!


Onshape Launches Android CAD App

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Today, Onshape for Android, claimed to be the first 3D CAD system to run on Android phones and tablets, was released. The new mobile release comes just five months after the launch of Onshape Beta, a full-cloud 3D CAD system that lets design teams simultaneously work together on the same model using a web browser, phone, or tablet.

This is big news because, as far as I know, Onshape for Android is the first 3D CAD app that lets you create designs on Android platforms, whereas other CAD companies have only a viewer.

“We founded Onshape with a vision to make CAD accessible on any device, anywhere,” says Onshape founder and Chairman of the Board, Jon Hirschtick. “We’re proud to be the first in the industry to run on Android. And by ‘run,’ I mean really run. You’re not just viewing models. You’re able to sketch, extrude, fillet, shell, create 3D models, edit their shape and size, and put them into assemblies.”

Editing An Assembly On A Nexus Android Tablet

Editing An Assembly On A Nexus Android Tablet

3D CAD users are no longer restricted to one primary workstation, as their data is now readily available on practically any device. In addition to Android, Onshape also runs on iPhones and iPads – and in a web browser on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

“When we first started, a lot of people were skeptical that CAD could be done on such a small device,” explains Ravi Reddy, team lead for Onshape Mobile. “We solved the precision selection problem and made sketching easy with touch-based finger offset tools. We added intuitive lock and unlock modes to help with pan, zoom, and rotate operations for sketching and assemblies.”

“We rejected the standard notion of providing a view-only version of CAD on mobile or choosing a subset of features,” he adds. “We were determined to build a full CAD product that can be used anywhere and from any device.”

Keep in mind, though, the mobile app is not intended to replace Onshape’s use on desktops and laptops – it is meant to expand a CAD user’s access to their work outside the home or office.

Onshape for Android is available now for free in the Google Play store.

Book Review: Geometric Modeling by Nikolay Golovanov

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

What most of us take for granted when using CAD/CAM/CAE technologies had to come from somewhere, correct? By that I mean the mathematics that underlie and drive all CAx applications. From the basic math numerical models are derived as the output of systems. The output of these systems are geometric shape descriptions of modeled objects. As these systems were being developed a new branch of mathematics, known as geometric modeling, was created – and that’s what the book, Geometric Modeling, is all about.

Fundamentally, geometric modeling studies the methods used to construct and control numerical geometric models of real and imaginary objects.

Geometric modeling is entirely dependent of several areas of mathematics, but primarily differential geometry (that employs differential and integral calculus and linear algebra for developing planes, curves, and surfaces in 3D Euclidean space) and numerical methods (to find numerical approximations – the more precise the approximation, the better the model).

How basic math becomes numerical modeling that becomes geometric modeling is the subject of a new book, Geometric Modeling, by Dr. Nikolay Golovanov. The book is based on the author’s experience gained throughout his career, and especially during the development of the ASCON Group’s C3D geometric kernel as a principal architect.

In a nutshell, the book outlines the methods of geometric modeling, including methods for constructing curves, surfaces, and solids. It describes the algorithms and data structures behind geometric objects. It also presents the principles of the interconnections between the elements of geometric models. Finally, the book examines some of the applications of geometric models, such as determining model physical characteristics, rendering, simulation, etc.

Geometric Modeling


Happy Holidays From MCADCafe!

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year. We’d also like to thank all of our readers and supporters for continuing to make MCADCafe a vital part of the design, engineering, and manufacturing community.

With 2014 coming to a close, we’re unveiling what we’ll be covering in 2015. The calendar below reflects what we think are some of the most important topics for the MCAD community, based on our perceptions, as well as feedback from our readers and other supporters.

The main theme for each month will be covered in an extended article or series of articles so that the topic can be covered in a more comprehensive way. We’ll also be covering some of the major MCAD and related events throughout the year, reporting what we see and hear from vendors, partners, and attendees.

If you have any thoughts on topics you would like to see covered in 2015, feel free to contact me at or 719.221.1867. We encourage and welcome all input and feedback.

We look forward to an exciting 2015 and providing you with the MCAD content you want for improving your design, engineering, and manufacturing processes.

Keep your source for all things MCAD. It’s going to be a great year!


The (Possible) Future of MCAD CG and Interaction Innovation Showcased at SIGGRAPH 2014

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014


We just returned from one of the most interesting events of the year for us and one that we always look forward to – SIGGRAPH 2014. SIGGRAPH (short for Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques) is the name of the annual conference on computer graphics (CG) convened by the ACM SIGGRAPH organization.

The first SIGGRAPH conference was in 1974, and this year’s event was held in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.

As usual, we found the most interesting aspects of the conference to be the SIGGRAPH Emerging Technologies program and the exhibit floor.

SIGGRAPH 2014 Emerging Technologies Preview


MCAD Mystery: Whatever Happened To . . . ?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

If you’ve been around the technical/engineering software business as long as I have, as with any business, nothing stays the same. This includes founders, executives, and other major players who were once prominent in the industry, but for many reasons have moved on. Some, to other companies in the industry, some to other industries, and some who have just plain disappeared. History never stands still and the CAx industry is no exception.

Although it’s a bit dated and based on a research project, check out the video below for a very short recap on the history of CAD:

A Short History of CAD

During the coming weeks and months we’ll try and track down players who were formerly very prominent in the MCAD arena and see what they’re up to now. Some of these folks include:

  • John Walker – Autodesk
  • Mike Riddle – Autodesk
  • Carol Bartz – Autodesk
  • Dominic Gallello – Autodesk
  • Dick Harrison – PTC
  • Steve Walske – PTC
  • Jim Meadlock – Intergraph
  • Joe Costello – Think3
  • Pat Hanratty — MCS
  • Martin Newell – Ashlar
  • Jon Hirschtick – SolidWorks
  • John McEleney — SolidWorks
  • Jeff Ray – SolidWorks
  • Jason Lemon – SDRC
  • Fontaine Richardson – Applicon
  • John Wright – United Computing (later Unigraphics)
  • Thomas Curry – MSC Software
  • Robert Bean – CADKEY

Obviously, this list only scratches the surface of possibilities. If there is anyone currently or formerly renowned in the CAD/CAM/CAE/CAx industry you would like to see us track down and update what they’re up to, send an email to me at with a subject line that reads, “Where Are They Now?”, and we’ll do our best to respond in an upcoming blog on a person’s whereabouts and more recent accomplishments.


PTC Live Global 2014: IoT and PTC Creo 3.0 Take Center Stage

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Along with over 2,000 other attendees, we just returned from the PTC Live Global 2014 conference and exhibition in Boston. It was a very good show at a very good venue — the Boston Convention Center.

The two biggest things we noted at the conference were PTC’s involvment and commitment to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the introduction of PTC Creo 3.0. We also noted a more upbeat crowd attending the show this year than in years past. The attendees we spoke with said the lighter attitude was due to PTC’s announcements, PTC’s corporate direction, and an economy that continues to slowly improve.

PTC Technology Update – PTC Live Global 2014 Keynote


CAD/PDM Software Evaluation: Solid Edge/Teamcenter Rapid Start

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Editor’s Note: This is the third installment of a series of four evaluation articles of CAD/PDM systems for SMBs.


Siemens’s Teamcenter Rapid Start is a product data management (PDM) solution that is preconfigured, yet extensible. As a preconfigured deployment option of Teamcenter, it is intended to address the most common PDM needs of SMBs. With its “simplified” installation process, Teamcenter Rapid Start applies preconfigured best practices to common engineering tasks and processes for SMBs.

In a stand-alone environment, all server and all client applications are installed on each machine. In a shared environment, server applications are installed on a single server. Each machine has network access to the server and has only the client applications installed.

The video that follows shows how to get started with Teamcenter Rapid Start PDM, and includes demos on CAD data management, document management, and process management.

Teamcenter Rapid Start


ANSYS Acquires SpaceClaim: May the Force(s) Be With Them

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Well, another CAD company is snapped up, and the technical software consolidation train continues to roll on. That in itself is not too surprising. What is, though, is that a CAE company has acquired a CAD company.

ANSYS announced earlier today that it has acquired SpaceClaim Corp. for a purchase price of $85 million in cash, plus retention and an adjustment for working capital. The transaction closed on April 30, 2014.

ANSYS SpaceClaim Overview
From the beginning, SpaceClaim said it offered a 3D modeling tool that could be used by more than just CAD experts during the product development process (and this is a key point to the acquisition). According to SpaceClaim, this is made possible because of a process, called “direct modeling,” that differs dramatically from traditional CAD software, which is used by a relatively small percentage of engineers – typically late in the development process, to document the detailed design. While direct modeling itself is not unique, SpaceClaims implementation of it is. (more…)

Book Review: Re-Use Your CAD-The Model-Based CAD Handbook

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Over the course of a year I read a lot of books — technical, non-fiction, hardcopy, and digital. Most of them I get through, although there are some I don’t even try to finish, and a few become favorites and are kept for future reading on my bookshelf. I just finished a book entitled Re-Use Your CAD: The Model-Based Handbook by Jennifer Herron. When I saw Handbook in the title, I thought it would be just a dry reference book, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was much more than that — it’s a good learning resource.

First, a little about the author and model-based engineering/model-based design (MBE/MBD).

I’ve known Jennifer for several years as we’ve crossed paths at software conferences. She is the owner of Action Engineering, a company that specializes in the promotion, process development, and standardization of 3D CAD MBE and MBD. She is an expert in multiple CAD packages, which she uses along with her practical design experience to hone standards and processes that optimize the ROI of all CAD systems.

She also offers model-based documentation education seminars, MIL-STD-31000A schema and modeling best practice training, as well as planning consulting services for Model-Based Engineering implementation. Keep in mind as you read the book that based on her experience, she is a stickler for standards, such as ISO, but you realize that’s probably a good thing.

Her company is a consulting firm that transitions government organizations and companies to effectively and efficiently implement Model Based Engineering. With a specialty in training organizations to document and tailor their business practices to be compatible with CAD, PDM and PLM software tools, Action advises companies in: CAD modeling standards and best practice, designer modeling efficiency, CAD configuration management, MBE training, team collaboration and CAD interoperability.

The concept(s) of MBE/MBD have received a lot of attention in the past few years because this approach handles product development using a digital master model, and not just necessarily CAD. All downstream activities can be derived from the master model to develop a product. The MBE/MBD approach replaces puzzling documents and can minimize the need for physical prototypes before an optimized design has been developed. In other words, engineers and designers can simulate and iterate as much as necessary to refine a model while also meeting requirements and adhering to design constraints.

Now on to the book . . .

Reuse Your CAD Handbook

The book is structured in a logical manner for those both new and experienced with MBE/MBD. Throughout, it stresses the importance of standardizing, centralizing, documenting, and reusing a CAD database. It’s written in a CAD-agnostic manner, so its principles can be applied in any CAD environment, regardless of vendor.

A sampling of some of the topics covered in the book include:

  • Explanation of the philosophy of designing products using CAD model-based life-cycles
  • Implementation guide to model-based commercial (ASME Y14.41), government (MIL-STD-31000A) and company standards
  • Model-based benefits, risks, and action plans
  • 3D MBD model organizational schema
  • 3D MBD model protocols to satisfy the schema CAD agnostically
  • Part and assembly modeling best practice
  • Mass property implementation methods
  • 3D model Data Exchange (DEX) methods
  • MBE support infrastructure requirements
  • Product data management (PDM) fundamentals and requirements


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